I'm a doctoral candidate at Princeton University in the German department, where I've taught German language, literature and philosophy since 2008 and regularly received the highest scores for student satisfaction on my teaching evaluations. I majored in Biology and German as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. I believe it is a teacher or tutor's responsibility to determine a student's individual learning style and tailor her lessons accordingly. I do a brief interview with each client to ascertain whether he or she is a visual, auditory or combination learner and teach with these results in mind. I look forward to working with you to achieve your academic goals!
Undergraduate Degree: University of Michigan - Bachelor of Science, German, Biology
Graduate Degree: Princeton University - PHD, German Literature
GRE Verbal: 790
GRE Quantitative: 710
Piano, contemporary poetry, backpacking, karaoke
MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
My approach to teaching requires that I understand how you learn best. This means finding out what motivates you to care about your studies, to get you energized about the common project we've committed to together. At that point, I'll know how best to present information to you so you can retain and activate it.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'll talk about your interest in the subject, and then figure out what kind of learning style you need based on how you function in your courses at school.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
This is about finding your motivation for learning, and then tailoring an approach based on your individual learning style that you can practice while we're working together. Once you've got this approach to studying outside of the classroom in place, you can take it with you anywhere, whether that's the workplace or a completely unrelated place.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
We will have honest conversations about what you're able to deal with in terms of your current workload. From there, we'll strategize about what you can reasonably accomplish, so you don't become overwhelmed by a set of unachievable goals.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When we encounter difficulty, we'll need to look beyond your studies in our given subject to figure out how you've mastered complex concepts in the past. The goal will be to develop that process so you are able to work out complicated material independently. Anything complex requires breaking it down into its composite parts, so we can find out what exactly about the idea or skill is posing a problem. By practicing this technique of breaking down problems into smaller problems together, you'll soon learn to do it on your own!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If you have a learning disability that makes reading difficult, I would prefer to work as a team with your educational support system to see how I can best address your needs. Reading, in my experience, is a question of practice. Students who struggle with reading comprehension are best served by identifying what type of reading material will challenge them while sufficiently engaging their interest so they can stick with it. Like many other skills, the more you read, the better and more efficiently you read.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
We need to establish a rapport and set up guidelines for working together. I want to understand what it is you want and need out of the learning experience, and you should get the sense that I am fully committed to helping you set and realize those goals.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Again, we'll look to areas that already interest you and try to create meaningful links between what you do find engaging and the material we're working on. I'll do my best to create situations in which you can succeed in our area of study together. Often, a series of successes in a one-on-one learning setting creates an energy that carries over into your work in the classroom or independently.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
We'll have check-ins in the form of verbal and written quizzes, if it's not sufficiently clear to me from our discussions that you've mastered the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
This is about creating conditions for success. If you are not succeeding for whatever reason in the classroom, we will use the method of breaking down the problem. Starting small and working up to more difficult tasks allows us to discover what part of a subject or set of concepts are proving confusing, and address that smaller problem head on. Once you've mastered the basics of any skill or concept, it's hard not to take pleasure in using them well and expanding on your existing knowledge.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
We'll initially evaluate your needs with a series of questions I've developed regarding your individual learning style. From there, it's about having honest conversations with you, and those in your educational support network, to discern what needs are not being addressed by your current learning situation.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Learning styles, whether auditory, visual, tactile or a combination, are a little different for each person. My tutoring will reflect this, once we've ascertained how you assimilate information easiest. Beyond your individual learning style, conversations about your expectations for yourself and your tutor are critical for determining your needs as they pertain to your existing workload.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use PowerPoint displays and a whiteboard, primarily. Again, the media I use to present information will depend on you and your learning style.